BBC Three Takes ‘Orphan Black’
In a west-to-east move, Britain’s BBC Three has acquired the BBC America original series Orphan Black. The 10-part drama, co-created by Graeme Manson (Flashpoint) and John Fawcett (Spartacus), centers on a street-wise chameleon whose life changes dramatically after witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks just like her. Taking on the woman’s identity, boyfriend and bank account, she is thrust into a kaleidoscopic mystery. Tatiana Maslany stars. BBC America just renewed the series in the U.S. It’s produced by Temple Street Prods in association with BBC America and Space.
‘The Face’ UK Names Models To Join Naomi Campbell
Sky Living has added supermodels Erin O’Connor and Caroline Winberg alongside Naomi Campbell for the UK version of model reality show The Face. The U.S. version, produced by Shine America, launched on Oxygen in February. The local UK format will be co-produced by Princess Productions and Shine TV. The three models will mentor three teams of four girls over eight weeks as they compete in photo shoots, runway shows and commercials. The last girl standing will be crowned the face of a globally known brand. Production starts in the spring. Campbell is exec producing. Read More »
After launching on Oxygen in the U.S. last month, model reality show The Face will make its way to Britain. Sky Living has picked up the original series and ordered a local format to be co-produced by Princess Productions and Shine TV. Shine America produces the U.S. version that stars Naomi Campbell who will also topline and executive produce the UK version. Two other supermodels will join Campbell to mentor three teams of four girls over eight weeks as they compete in photo shoots, runway shows and commercials. The last girl standing will be crowned the face of a globally known brand. Production starts in the spring with contestant auditions being held now throughout the UK for girls 18 and older.
Merlin will cast its final spell on BBC One this Christmas. The fantasy-adventure show that’s loosely based on Arthurian legend airs on Syfy in the U.S. and will end after five seasons. Co-creators and exec producers Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy say the series is bowing out at its natural climax, with the finale bringing an end to the battle for Camelot. Capps and Murphy have also announced they are leaving Shine TV, producer of the show, at the end of the year to start their own production company. Shine and FremantleMedia Enterprises, which handles the show internationally, are in the early stages of developing potential Merlin spinoffs using the universe created in the series. Any future shows would be produced by Shine’s Kudos in partnership with FME. Merlin debuted in 2008 and stars Colin Morgan, Bradley James, Katie McGrath, Angel Coulby, Richard Wilson and the voice of John Hurt. Its other international broadcast partners include Germany’s Super RTL, France’s Canal+ and Australia’s Network Ten.
Advertising Up 12.5% For China’s Biggest Broadcaster
Foreign and Chinese advertisers will pay about $2.25 billion next year for time on China’s biggest television network CCTV. That’s up roughly 12.5% over 2011. That may seem high compared to the rest of the world which is generally chalking up low single-digit growth, but China has been accustomed to annual hikes ranging from 15% to 18.5% during the past five years. Similar to the US networks’ upfront market, CCTV’s auction of TV time for the coming year is seen as a benchmark for not only China’s ad industry but the country’s economy as a whole. One of the largest bidders was white-spirits company Kweichow Moutai Co., which pledged $78.4 million. Bank of China committed $12 million for a 10-second slot after the evening news in January and February during peak viewership for special Chinese New Year programming. Internet companies including 360buy.com and Alibaba were the fastest growing advertisers representing a 7.7% increase over 2011. In general Western companies were less aggressive this year, but Volkswagen AG was one of the largest foreign advertisers according to Beijing ad agency Charm Communications. Procter & Gamble Co. pledged $25.2 million. Separately, CCTV plans to open a new HQ in Washington, D.C., in January as part of an agressive foreign expansion.
Duncan Gray Named Creative Director Of Princess Productions
Princess Productions today announced the appointment of Duncan Gray, currently Head of Entertainment Commissioning for Sky. Gray will join the company as Creative Director in early 2012, reporting … Read More »
Syfy has picked up a fourth season of the BBC fantasy series Merlin in a deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises. The series, produced by Shine TV, started its U.S. run on NBC under Ben Silverman. It was canceled after one season and moved to sibling Syfy where it has done solid business in Season 2 and Season 3, recently averaging 1.93 million viewers for its third season, up 12% from Season 2. Meanwhile, VH1 has renewed its first hourlong scripted series Single Ladies for a second season. Both Merlin and Single Ladies will return with originals in 2012.
It didn’t take long for new Shine Group Americas CEO Emiliano Calemzuk to put his stamp on Reveille with a major executive move. Calemzuk, who joined Shine last month, has reshuffled the top management at the Shine-owned company: co-managing director Howard T. Owens will now run the company solo as managing director, while co-managing director Mark Koops is leaving. Additionally, executive producer Robin Ashbrook has been promoted to the newly created role of Head of Non-Scripted Entertainment. Koops is pursuing a new venture, which will be announced shortly, Shine said. “This is a re-structure that will equip Reveille for the next period of its growth,” Calemzuk said. In a similar fashion, 3 weeks after taking over Fox TV Studios as president in 2007, Calemzuk shook up the company’s top management by axing 3 department heads. Read More »
Fox has renewed Gordon Ramsay’s newest culinary competition series, Masterchef, for a second season. This is Ramsay’s third successful series on Fox, following Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. The other person with 3 series on Fox – Seth MacFarlane. Masterchef was the highest-rated new summer series among adults 18-49. It is produced by Reveille, Shine TV and One Potato Two Potato.
Liz Murdoch has talked about wanting to beef up comedy at her Shine Group and now she’s done it. Shine has bought UK comedy producer Brown Eyed Boy from Motive Television. This is Shine’s 5th new UK-based production company alongside Dragonfly (factual), Kudos (drama), Princess Productions (entertainment) and Shine TV. Gary Reich, managing director of Brown Eyed Boy, has discovered some of Britain’s best comedians including Sacha Baron Cohen and The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt. NBC is developing a U.S. version of Brown Eyed’s BBC sitcom How Not To Live Your Life.
Paula Abdul is off the market, at least for now. The former American Idol judge has signed on as executive producer, lead judge and “creative partner” for CBS’ new dancing reality-competition Got To Dance. She had been courted for numerous gigs since quitting Idol last summer, including to topline a revival of Star Search for ABC. On Got To Dance, she will also serve as coach, mentor and advocate for contestants during the performances and elimination process, the network said this morning. Meanwhile, Abdul also is rumored to make an appearance on Idol this week as part of the send-off for judge Simon Cowell.
Got To Dance is based on the popular British series, which debuted earlier this year on Britain’s Sky 1. It features amateurs of any age group from across the nation (either performing solo or in a group) who can audition any form of dancing. “I’ve spent the better part of my life teaching, mentoring, nurturing—working with so many talented people—and I consider myself truly blessed to be able to continue to do something that I hold so dear to my heart,” said Abdul, who is repped by UTA.
Got To Dance is a Shine Group format, created by Princess Prods. and Shine TV and is produced by Reveille. Abdul, Elisabeth Murdoch, Howard T. Owens, Mark Koops and Robin Ashbrook are executive producers. Distribution is handled by Shine International.